Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Songs My Brothers Taught Me ★★★½

Chloe Zhao is a poetic ethnographer. I saw this after Nomadland, which has a similar wandering quality. Her camera hovers around gets intimate, revealing American cultures against harshly beautiful terrain. "Songs" reveals a lot about indigenous lives, the senses of community, tradition and the very real things that stand in the way. It is clear that the director works closely with the cast, who appear to be of the site, suggesting there are truths, like form of auto-anthropology (as in a cousin to auto-fiction). I appreciate the pace that interweaves people and their narratives. But like in Nomadland, I found myself more in observation than feeling mode, perhaps because both films sketch out the contours of internal and social struggles. Something to let sink in. . . .

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